Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

My mom makes the best soup.  Seriously, she should go into business selling it- everyone would go crazy over it!  There isn't a soup that comes out of my mom's kitchen that isn't amazing.  Her Vegetable Beef Soup is a huge family favorite.  Super simple to make, but jam-packed full of flavor, it is comfort food at it's best.  This one is nice and hearty due to the large chunks of beef and loads of veggies.  My mom always serves the large chunks of meat on the side, giving you the option of putting some in the soup and the other enjoying with good mustard, making it a satisfying dinner with just a hunk of butter bread.

With the ridiculous Polar Vortex we have been experiencing here in the Midwest, this is exactly the kind of food you want to be eating.  Put the pot on the stove in the afternoon and just let it simmer away throughout the day.  By dinner it will fill your home with the most wonderful smells and make your kids and husbands asking for dinner the moment they walk in the door from work and school.  if you are unable to stay home to keep an eye on your pot of soup, a crock pot on low for the day works just as nicely.  A nice hot bowl of soup says "I Love You" in the most snuggly, delicious way.

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

2 32-oz Beef Stock (or 32-oz beef stock AND 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon dissolved into 4 cups of water)
1 beef chuck roast (1.5-2 lb) excess fat removed and cut into very large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
1 cup corn (frozen or canned is fine)
(you may add any other veggies you like or have on hand, green beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes...)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine the beef, stock, chopped onion and bay leaf and allow to simmer over medium high heat for 45 minutes. Add the rest of your veggies, and a good sized squirt of ketchup- I know crazy ingredient! But it rounds out the flavor of the soup perfectly.  You can also use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, but trust me, ketchup is the secret ingredient!  Allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. 

Taste and season accordingly with salt, pepper and additional ketchup if desired.  The longer the soup simmers the more it will thicken.  I prefer a heartier soup, almost like a stew, making it a bit easer for my children to eat by themselves.   But if it reduces a little too much for your liking or if you prefer a thinner soup, add a bit more water until you get the desired consistency.

Serve the meat alongside the soup with a good mustard for dipping.  One of my boys likes his meat all on the side with loads of mustard and ketchup.  My other son likes his meat totally in his soup.  My husband and I like some in and some out!  Enjoy with crusty bread slathered in butter. 


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